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Press Release

Collin County Woman Guilty in University Embezzlement Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

SHERMAN, Texas – A 42-year-old McKinney, Texas woman has pleaded guilty to federal crimes in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today. 

            Heather Elizabeth Mercado pleaded guilty to theft today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine A. Nowak.

            According to information presented in court, from December 2014 to April 13, 2015, Mercado was employed by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as Director Talent Acquisition in the Human Resources Department.  Mercado also controlled and operated a company, Alliance Consulting Partners (ACP), purportedly in the business of hospital staffing.  Mercado devised and executed a scheme in which she represented to UT Southwestern Medical Center that ACP recruited nurses and other personnel to work at UT Southwestern Medical Center thereby causing fraudulent invoices to be generated causing UT Southwestern Medical Center to pay ACP more than $483,000.  UT Southwestern officials identified the fraudulent activities and reported it to authorities.  Mercado was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 13, 2016.    

Mercado faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing.  The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.  A sentencing date has not been set.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and University of Texas Southwestern and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Eason.

Updated February 2, 2016

Financial Fraud